Optimum production from vein-type deposits requires the Narrow Vein Mining (NVM) process where excavation is accomplished by drilling larger diameter holes. To drill into the veins to successfully extract the ore deposits, a conventional rotary drilling rig is mounted on the ground. These operations are generally conducted by drilling a pilot hole in a narrow vein followed by a hole widening operation. Initially, a pilot hole is drilled for exploration purposes, to guide the larger diameter hole and to control the trajectory, and the next step in the excavation is progressed by hole widening operation. Drilling cutting properties, such as particle size distribution, volume, and shape may expose a significant drilling problem or may provide justification for performance enhancement decisions. In this study, a laboratory hole widening drilling process performance was evaluated by drilling cutting analysis. Drill-off Tests (DOT) were conducted in the Drilling Technology Laboratory (DTL) by dint of a Small Drilling Simulator (SDS) to generate the drilling parameters and to collect the cuttings. Different drilling operations were assessed based on Rate of Penetration (ROP), Weight on Bit (WOB), Rotation per Minute (RPM), Mechanical Specific Energy (MSE) and Drilling Efficiency (DE). A conducive schedule for achieving the objectives was developed, in addition to cuttings for further interpretation. A comprehensive study for the hole widening operation was conducted by involving intensive drilling cutting analysis, drilling parameters, and drilling performance leading to recommendations for full-scale drilling operations.

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